Sharon Bialek, Cain's accuser, left, with Gloria Allred, her attorney (Courtesy of Enewstrend)

Recently, Herman Cain, GOP primary candidate, has come under fire for allegedly engaging in sexual misconduct with several women; a charge that can potentially derail the Cain campaign.

The first woman to come out with allegations was Sharon Bialek, a woman who allegedly had asked for a job from Cain, and subsequently became the target of sexual advances from Cain.

A study undertaken by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism compared the overall press coverage that Cain received last week, to previous coverage on him. The study divided the coverage into three categories: positive, negative and neutral. For the last week measured, October 31st to November 6th, the study found that 39% of the statements about Cain were negative, versus 26% positive (only 36% were neutral).

However, the negative coverage of Cain this week is not an anomaly. This last week, was the third straight week were Cain had received more negative coverage in the media.

Herman Cain's Flavor of the Week (Courtesy of BuzzFeed)

The trend started on the week of October 17-23, after Cain released his “9-9-9” tax plan, and rose in the polls, leading to increased scrutiny from the media.

As for the allegations against Cain, couldn’t have come at a worse time for Cain, who according to a USA Today/Gallup poll, is tied with Mitt Romney for the lead in the primary, at 21% (Undecided voters also polled at 21%).

On a side note, the findings in the report from Pew, were found using software from a social media research company, Crimson Hexagon. According to Pew, the company “combines traditional content analysis methods with computer algorithmic coding,” to get the numbers you see above. But more important than the method, is how the company is using its alogorithms. They, along with social media company Mass Relevance, recently announced a partnership with Twitter, to repurpose Tweets for commercial use.

This, of course, has several implications for the social media user. Companies, now, are essentially able to access the content of every twitter user, and are able to misappropriate and disseminate the information they receive, regardless of whether or not a social media user consents or not. The second, and probably more interesting, aspect is that it gives weight to personal opinion in the public forum. Literally, anybody can tweet anything and have it be used by big corporations, like CNN (see above link), and will most likely, in the future, be featured in T.V. shows and Jumbotrons, in an attempt to influence you, the consumer.

Imagine that.


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